Wondering which are the best books that have been written until now? Different literary critics, avid readers, historians, as well as casual readers, have different opinions on what they would call the best book ever written. They want to figure out what the plot of the book is, whether it is beautifully written, with a picturesque ability? Or it has gritty realism? Or is it one that can socially affect the world? There are many aspects that can be considered while putting the books into the category of best books.
A few of the books that have been considered as the best books of all time have been mentioned below:
1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1878):
Anna Karenina is considered as the greatest work of Literature ever, where Leo Tolstoy calls this his first-ever true novel. Any reader who is a huge fan of bookmaking, infidelity, matrimonial plots, along with Russian feudalism, will instantly place Anna Karenina in the category of the best books ever written. Time Magazine has ranked this book among the ‘greatest novels’ list, ever since its publication in 1878.
This book is an eight-part towering work of fiction, which circles around the two protagonists- Anna Karenina, a catastrophic, disappointed housewife, who chooses to run away with her young lover, and Konstantin Levin, a love-struck landlord, who is belligerent in thinking and conviction.
The author is this book, Leo Tolstoy brings together considerations on love, family, and pain in Russian society, with a set of characters who are known for their convincing humanity. This novel also has a special place for women of that time, because it depicted the treatment towards them, prejudices against them, as well as social hardships of that time, with clearer emotions.
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925):
The Great Gatsby has a distinctive mark of its own in Literature. It has been described as one of the best books to introduce literary texts to children to understand it critically. This novel stands as the supreme achievement of F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is a quintessential novel of the Jazz Age of the 1920s.
This novel has been told from the perspective of a young man named Nick Carraway, who has been befriended by his rich neighbor, with a mysterious origin, Jay Gatsby. The Great Gatsby tries to provide insider information on the Jazz Age of the 1920s of the United Nations history, all the while critiquing the idea of the ‘American Dream.”
One of the most famous aspects of this novel is the cover art that depicts a piercing face that is projected into the dark night, with city lights hitting the face. This image can also be found in the text itself, in a somewhat altered arrangement, which acts as a key symbol in the book, in relation to the characters.
3. A Passage to India by E. M. Forster (1924):
After various trips to India during his early years of adulthood, E. M. Forster wrote this novel. This book is set around the time when there was tension between the British and Indian colonies. The story of the book revolves around the life of a Muslim Indian doctor named Aziz, and his relationship with an English professor, Cyril Fielding, along with a visiting English schoolteacher named, Adela Quested. When on a trip to the Marabar Caves near the fictional city of Chandrapore, Adela believes that she has been assaulted by Aziz, and the tensions between the Indian and British colonies rise.
The likelihood of association and acquaintance between the Indian and English people, along with their associations with each other, notwithstanding their traditional modifications and imposing pressures, is discovered in the encounter.
The novel has a flamboyant explanation of nature, the background of India, as well as the metaphorical supremacy, which the characters are provided within the novel, makes it a great work of fiction.
4. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952):
First published in 1952, Invisible Man was acclaimed as a masterpiece. It is one of those rare novels, which have changed the shape and way of looking at American Literature. Not only does Ralph Ellison’s novel take the readers across a nightmare journey regarding the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds of both the perpetrators and victims, but, it also gives the reader a new model of what a novel can and should be.
This novel has a nameless protagonist, who, when traveling from the Deep South, to the streets and the basements of Harlem, sees the images of a horrifying ‘battle royal’ where men of color are reduced to fighting animals, to a Communist rally, where these specific men are raised to the stature of trophies. He then takes the readers into a parallel universe, which throws the readers into punitive and sidesplitting reprieve.
This is an enthralling novel, with a mocking environment, recounted in a voice, which takes the reader in an instrumental assortment of the American language, black and white. This novel, along with its intricacies, makes it one of the most impudent and astounding novels of this century.
5. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1615):
Still loved by every literary student, avid reader, or critic, Don Quixote is known as the most influential and well-known work of Spanish Literature. This novel, which is considered as one of the best literary works of all time, tells the story of a man, who takes the name of ‘Don Quixote de la Mancha’ and sets off on a journey in a fit of obsessing over romantic novels about chivalry in bringing back the customs and becoming a hero himself.
His character has become an idol for writers of different ages and has also become an archetypal character, which has influenced major works of music, art, and literature, ever since the publication of this novel. This text has become quite influential, that the term Quixotic, based on the character of Don Quixote, was generated for describing a person who is, “foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals; especially: marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action.”
6. Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987):
Written in the peak time of slavery, Toni Morris, in her 1987 novel, Beloved, talks about an escaped slave, Sethe, who fled to Cincinnati, Ohio, in the year 1873.
This novel also investigates the trauma of being a slave and the problems that it follows, even after they gained freedom. It shows the guilt, which Sethe carries on his shoulders, and the emotional pain that she feels after killing her own child, whom she named Beloved, so as to keep her from living a life as a slave. A supernatural character appears in the lives of these characters, who has the same name as Beloved, and exemplifies their pain and anguish and makes their spirits and past unescapable.
This novel has been praised for addressing the psychological effects of slavery and the significance of family and community, in healing one’s life. This part of the novel, made it win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988.
7. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925):
Mrs. Dalloway, foreshadowed as one of the greatest novels by Virginia Woolf, is a vivid portrait of one single day in the life of a woman. When we meet Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway, she is pre-occupied with last-minute details of her party preparations, while, in her mind, she is something more than a perfect society hostess. As she is getting her house ready, she is taken back into faraway times, and she is met with the realities of the present. Mrs. Dalloway re-examines the choices that she has left, and which have brought her here while looking ahead to the unfamiliar times of growing old.
This novel contains some of the best and most beautiful writing one can find in a book. It gives you a feeling, which stems away from the ability of the reader’s subconscious to absorb the novel, while the conscious part of the reader’s brain does not have time to process that information.
Woolf gives her readers an acute description of post-traumatic stress disorder, which was not formally diagnosed until the 1970s. Mrs. Dalloway offers remarkable insight into the characters and is worth a read, whether it is the life of the protagonist, or keeping the minds of the readers fixed on the story.
8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1967):
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the late Columbian author, published his most famous work, One Hundred Years of Solitude in 1967. It is a novel, which tells the story of seven generations of the Buendia family, and the events that follow the creation of their town Macondo, until the destruction, along with the last of the family’s descendants.
It is an excellent, blockbusting, and breakthrough novel, which accounts for the irresoluble struggle between the desire for seclusion and the need for love through rich, imaginative prose. This style has come to express a complete genre known as ‘magical realism.’
The author highlights the pervasiveness of supremacy of ballad and legend, in antiquity and Latin American Literature. This novel has allowed the author to win many prizes, which include the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, of which One Hundred Years of Solitude is known as his most successful work.
9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847):
Penned under the name of Currer Bell, Jane Eyre is one of the most beloved works by Charlotte Bronte. It is a novel often assigned in schools and colleges, even for literature students, which acts as a source of literary information, all around the globe. The name of the author is different because it was used as a disguise for the fact that the writer was a woman, and during those times, women were not considered among literary critics. However, a lot has changed since then regarding women, and Bronte has received the credit for providing one of the most groundbreaking novels in relation to women in history.
It was a time when the author felt compelled to hide her identity, through Jane Eyre, Bronte has portrayed a story of individualism for women. The eponymous protagonist rises from her poor and orphaned state into a successful and independent woman, which is what Charlotte Bronte tried to make women believe, that they are worth everything.
10. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982):
This is an epistolary novel, written in the form of letters by one or more characters, has been one of the most famous novels in the 19th century. The author, Alice Walker, became a titleholder of elegance with her Pulitzer-winning novel, The Color Purple.
This novel is set in the post-Civil War American South, where it follows a young African American woman, named Celie, into her adult age, through letters, which she writes to God and to her sister, Nettie. Celie, who had earlier suffered sexual harassment by her father, was not assaulted by her husband, which leads her to drown in her own suffering and guilt, along with her family and friends.
This novel focuses on the themes of sexism, gender, racism, disability, sexual orientation, through which it depicts the disadvantaged and damaged characters, who move on to shape their own lives over time.
This story was later taken into an Academy Award-nominated film in 1985, one which, received widespread critical acclaim, and collected all the 11 awards for which it was nominated.
11. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719):
Robinson Crusoe denies an individual the stability of life in England, with the ability to travel the world. It is a rebellious act, which has inspired the wanderlust of many individuals. The colonial adventures by Robinson Crusoe, in this novel, lead him to encounter foreign to modern travelers, including the slave trade, cannibalism, as well as shipwrecks in foreign lands. With the adventures in his life, Robinson comes to appreciate his own life, upbringing, and culture, on a greater level.
This novel was first published under the pseudonym Robinson Crusoe, where the author’s vivid imagination has the ability to food his competitors into believing that this was a travel memoir, which was considered a popular genre at the time. However, this is adventure fiction, which can be the reason for Defoe’s creativity in the novel.
12. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726):
Gulliver’s Travels is the complete opposite of Robinson Crusoe and its optimism about human discovery and development, where the novel is based on a dark parody of just that. Lumuel Gulliver, the protagonist of the novel, sets sail various times and staggers upon four different types of societies: one is of little unusual people; one is of compassionate giants; one of the madly scientific people, and lastly, one of magical talking horses.
Every society has a different role to play and has certain drawbacks, which reflect the various parts of English society during Swift’s time. These are, some people blindingly following the nonsensical faith, few are fixed on political hierarchies, and the rest of them, to wild experiments.
The author, Jonathan Swift has always been known for his harsh comments, one that cannot be better characterizes his mockery than the irony of Gulliver’s condescension for other cultures, despite them being similar to his own.
However, this is a novel that is read even today, either in schools, colleges and even as a source of literary information.
13. Candice by Voltaire (1759):
Candice is the story of a boy, whose name is Candice, and his coming-of-age-story and his bravest effort to hold a mirror against society to show them their mistake.
As a boy, Candice was taught everything, which included that everything happens for a reason, where the good and bad things serve their purpose in this grand scheme, which is known as the universe.
As Candice endeavors out into the world, while facing the issues and hardships in the world, it makes him question whether the enthusiastic philosophy is an indicator of inexperience as well as meaninglessness.
During Voltaire’s time, there was hardly any author, who would speak up about this topic, where they would speak up about the opposed virtues of the educated class. Voltaire refused to take credit for his masterpiece, which he eventually did after a long time, and there is no writer who can touch this topic with such wit and passion.
14. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850):
Well, who doesn’t love Charles Dickens? He has given the world many beautiful masterpieces in literature, with David Copperfield being one of the greatest works from his other major commentators of the mid-1800s. It is a semi-autobiographical novel, which challenges everything, from child labor to debtors’ prisons to class structure, as well as women’s rights. Every single aspect is carefully embedded into the rich personality of David Copperfield.
As for the protagonist himself, the story evolves from an uncertain young boy to an intelligent man, who leads himself to become a confident writer. During his process of becoming a writer, he learns different things, such as how to separate the good from the bad, which people can or cannot be trusted, and how to stay firm, even under the most calamitous magnitudes. This novel is an emotional battle, which the protagonist receives as a reward with professional and marital happiness.
15. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1862):
A 1500-page book doesn’t seem that interesting, but Victor Hugo, with his glorious and masterful depiction of politics and the portrayal of the tragedy of human beings, makes it worth a read.
All the events that take place in this novel are happening on the brink of Paris’ June Rebellion of 1832, where Jean Valjean, after caught stealing some bread for his family, is imprisoned to 19 years of prison. After being released, he turns himself into a successful and wealthy man, who saves a young woman, Cosette, from her abusive caretakers, the Thenardiers.
The Paris rebellion was a cause for which, the young revolutionary, Marius risks his entire life. This aspect brings together many important characters in the novel, which becomes impossible to explain in short.
Hugo’s ability to bring forward and astonishing beauty and gut-wrenching emotion make it a beautiful musical, which makes it look like candy on a bar. It shows the true portrayal of humanity and history, in their truer form.
16. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865):
Who doesn’t love Alive and all her adventures in Wonderland! The Hatter and his tea party make the reader reminiscence their childhood, but this novel is a masterpiece by Lewis Carroll. It takes the reader into a completely different world, in an imaginative world of Alice, who gets sucked into Wonderland, which, at first, seems like a gloriously beautiful place to live in, but turns out to be a strange place with strange creatures.
Alice is in for a wild ride with maddening tea-parties, to hookah-smoking caterpillars, and we must not forget, the Queen of Hearts!
It is a pioneer of the literary nonsense genre, which provides endless entertainment, both for kids and adults, both in the form of a movie, as well as with Lewis Carroll’s loopy writing style.
17. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886):
When you hear someone say “as a real Jekyll and Hyde character” and you can connect with it, you know what they are talking about. You know that they are talking about the duality of a man, but you may not have any idea of how that duality came into existence.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a gothic novella, which is the result of Dr. Jekyll’s scientific experiment to involve his vices undetected, by consuming a potion that transforms him into the horrific Mr. Hyde. The more Dr. Jekyll transforms into Mr. Hyde, his alter-ego, the stronger Hyde becomes and begins to take control of Dr. Jekyll.
The entire novel then is a thrilling feature of supernatural phenomenon and horror and a potential allegory, which points and warns against one giving into his/her dark side, for he/she may never be able to escape the consequences and compulsions.
18. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897):
It was long before Twilight and The Vampire Diaries that Dracula came into existence, but they were no reason to swoon. Believe us. However, even if you would fall for them, it would be in a more alarming manner than affectionate.
Bram Stoker defined Dracula in his epistolary novel, which traces the history and the horrible deeds of the one and only, Count Dracula. As more people come into contact with Dracula, they understand who he is and that he only wants to drink their blood and infect them. It is only Abraham van Helsing, who can stop him, who is a professor and a bona fide vampire expert. He was aided by his cohorts, who help him stop the killer.
Bram Stoker, in his novel, has brought a supernatural entity to life, making people wonder about various aspects of whether one such thing can be present in this world, etc.
19. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1978):
This is a comic sci-fi novel and is the first of its kind, which was created as a podcast show. This became quite famous that led the creator to write down everything and publish it in several installments. The outer space adventure, which the author has brought into this novel has acted as a source of inspiration for many shows, books, movies, etc.
This novel is about Arthur Dent, a human, who is saved by his friend from space, named Ford Prefect, who takes Arthur on his quest to create the ultimate guide to the galaxy. The question here that arises is, what is Arthur saved from? The earth is to be demolished to create a building for the intergalactic highway. If this does not make Arthur realize how small his world has been, then his intergalactic friends will surely remind him of that.
20. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (1981):
This novel by Salman Rushdie attempts to provide its readers, with fascinating inroads to the changes into modernity from being ruled over for 200 years, and from a culture, which has existed for many centuries. His novel has made use of the magical realism aspect to make the idea of common individuality more perceptible.
In this novel, the protagonist, Saleem, is born in the first hour of India’s independence from British rule and is born with the gift of telepathy and heightened sense. As he grows up, he discovers that there are 1001 more people, just like him. Soon, he gathers everyone and names them Midnight’s Children. He has done this to figure their role in the process of India reckoning out ways to build its new and distinct personality.
This story is a heartwarming one, which will make the reader feel connected to the protagonist, along with the country’s ability to move on.
21. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (2002):
With two different storylines, that intersect with each other at one point, Kafka on the Shore is a story that captures your mind, soul, and body.
This novel is the story of a 15-year-old boy, Kafka, who runs away from his father, in search of his mother and sister. The chapters in the novel have been numbered that is about an aging war-vet, called Nakata, who has the ability to search for lost cats. This is one of the searches, which lead him out onto the road for the first time. It is a mind-gripping novel, with the mastery of Murakami’s distinct and bizarre writing style.
There are imaginative accomplices, unexpected encounters, in places that are populated and where the odysseys are mysterious.
22. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949):
Nineteen Eighty-Four, among the other 20th century novels, is a rare work of art, which grows more haunting as the end comes nearer and the future in the novel becomes more real. The book, published in 1949, offers the author, George Orwell, who is a political satirist, a view of the totalitarian and bureaucratic world, with one person trying to find individuality.
The smartness of this novel comes from Orwell’s prescience of modern life. He also has the ability to distort the language, create a thorough version of hell, etc. This novel can also be said to be one of the most terrifying novels ever written in the history of literature.
23. Great Expectation by Charles Dickens (1860):
One can be dismissive about the Classics, but Great Expectations is a novel, which is a prototypical Dickens’ novel. It is big and expansive, and it can be read in the first-person narrative, which is a good sign, as readers want to feel connected to the protagonist and the narrator.
This novel is about a young boy, and his life, with various details that are held back from the readers. Pip, the young boy, lives with his mean sister and saintly father. He is forced to do the dirty work of the forge, but he has the will to dream of becoming a gentleman. One day, he suddenly finds in his possession, Great Expectations.
This is a tale of guilt and crime, reward and revenge, with quite compelling characters, that make the reader wanting for more.
24. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961):
A satirical novel by an American Author, Catch-22 is one of a kind.
Set during World War II, between 1942-1944, it depicts the life of Captain John Yossarian, who is a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 Bombarder. This novel goes deep into the experiences of Yossarian, along with the other airmen at the camp, who try to mainta9in their sanity, while fulfilling the requirements on duty.
This novel is often cited as one of the most significant novels of the 20th century while using a distinctive non-chronological third-person narration, which describes the various events through the point of view of the characters.
25. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818):
Frankenstein, the nightmare of every child, with his scary eyes, to his huge body, everyone dreaded him.
Mary Shelley, the author of this book, has presented her readers with the first science fiction novel, which, still today, is often considered as unsettling and is misunderstood for the plot. Mary Shelley has gone towards many tropes and conventions that are used in today’s novels, with their cold, dark humor and vacation in Switzerland. It was this vacation, which inspired this novel, with its depth, humor, plot, etc.
This novel tries to make the horrifying ‘monster,’ the protagonist and the hero, even though he somehow manages to scare everyone around him.
This novel is still being adapted in its own way, in different genres, being remixed and even reinvented. However, to really understand the true story behind Frankenstein’s monster, one must read the novel to know why he would do such a thing.
26. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985):
A work of art in feminist dystopia, one must have this book in his/her reading list, as this is one of the best works by Margaret Atwood. There have been several adaptations and movies made on this novel, which although captures the basic story and plot of the novel, reading the entire novel still remains the best of the ways to understand the story of Offred. She is a woman, who has been subjugated, brutally, and legally raped and is forced to make a decision in upcoming America, which will be ruled by a cult that is horrifyingly fundamentalist who have a goal of creating a fertility collapse.
In this novel, there is a sense of quiet, which can be constantly seen lying underneath Offred’s story, which is as powerful, but along with it, also provides a deep exploration of how men and women allow a misogynistic society to as uncomfortable questions and then offer a few answers to it.
Just as Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid’s Tale is a story of uncertainty and describing a future, which is very close to being real.
27. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005):
A thoughtful rumination of mortality, Never Let Me Go is the story of three young friends, who grow up in a boarding school, and discover that their lives have a secret and a devastating purpose. This novel is a simply beautiful, elegiac story on the outside, but is dark on the inside.
Ishiguro, in this novel, uses the sci-fi tropes, to display how time changes a person, why having a witness to our lives is significant, and what are the elements that make a person truly human. Although being connected to death and dismay, this novel is a great celebration of life and the joy and purpose of being alive, which is set by default in our lives.
28. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955):
This novel is often criticized as obstinate and offensive, which portrays the story of a pedophile, who destroys the life of a young girl, by obsessing over her. This young girl is one of the greater character studies ever done in the literature.
Humbert Humbert, the pedophile in the novel, has a dark desire for Lolita and has a dark cheerful story for marrying Lolita’s mother, so as to seduce Lolita. This has been portrayed as a more revealing element than if it would have been told to the readers in a factual way.
The reader is supposed to despise Humbert and his attempt to paint himself the victim, but this novel is tricky in the sense that it can seduce you into believing the horrifying story of the protagonist. Thus, it can be said that the novel has the ability to create different emotions for different people, which completely depends on the point of view of the reader.
29. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (1954):
Epic Fantasies are one of a kind and something, which gets the reader to the world they want to. There are different books, with different genres that are few and far between, but this novel still continues to be Tolkien’s masterpiece.
It is a story of humble hobbits, who take over a dangerous mission to carry a potent evil talisman, the ‘one ring to rule them all,’ into the dark stronghold of Sauron, who is the ring’s creator, one that can see one and all. This kind of story is built up into the present pop culture, and one does not need to recognize the details if he/she has never read the books.
The author, J. R. R. Tolkien did not just create a magical story of good versus evil, but he created an entire universe in Middle-earth, full of lush, fleshed-out characters and detailed history. He has a great imagination that he is able to project onto the readers. He has been given the credit to have inspired many post-modern writers, with their epic stories, which are deliberated in relation to how much they overlook Tolkien.
30. The Last Samurai by Helen Dewitt (2000):
This is a novel about precision, it portrays a nature of genius, and is a novel about universal human potential.
The Last Samurai by Helen Dewitt is a story about its hero and his education, which proceeds through a quest narrative. A boy, who undertakes rigorous training, and goes in search of his missing father, shows how this novel is anti-elitist on the core. It is depicted as elitist on the outside, with its great work of art, excellence, and even scientific achievement, but cannot do the same on the inside. Dewitt, in her novel, has stated that every human mind has the capability for feats, but he/she tends to associate with genius.
31. How Should a Person Be?, by Sheila Heti (2010):
Shelia Heti still does not receive much credit from her advocates for being funny, or from her critics for being too serious. She has turned from ironic to earnest, challenging to chatty and her voice is still considered as ideally suited for capturing the experiences of generating art, as well as decisions in the modern world.
The title of the novel is a perfect joke and witty question, which can be seen as a statement of deranged grandiosity where the individual is self-aware and straight-faced.
32. 2666 by Roberto Bolnao (2008):
The final legacy that Bolano left behind before his death in 2003, was a labyrinthine mystery, which takes place in three continents and most of the 20th century.
The playful first part of the novel makes the reader think that he/she is stepping into a steady old-fashioned cruise ship, but as they move forward, the tone abruptly changes to locale. At the center of the novel, the reader can find the fourth part, which is a clipped recital of a few of the hundred homicides in Ciudad Juarez that is an important aspect of the novel, and a direct confrontation with the reader.
This novel is a world in itself that is incalculable, seething, unplumbable, and substantially compact but unfathomable.
33. The Sellout by Paul Beatty (2015):
Paul Beatty, a writer who has the mastery of language, culture, and comic timing to create a satire that criticizes contemporary American life. He also has the ability to joke at a fast pace, almost line by line.
This novel has been considering the idea of living in a ‘post-radical’ society, which was considered as ridiculous even during Obama’s administration. The Sellout is the story of a black man, who faces trials and is charged with reinstating slavery as well as segregation in his California hometown. The story is written in a manner, which makes it difficult for the reader to look away.
34. Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001):
Once known as a love story, a war story, as well as a story about the redemptive and destructive powers of imagination, Atonement provides the story of a 13-year-old girl, whose lie will shatter the life of her family.
This novel also shows the horrors that England is going through during the 1930s and World War II. It is an account of the 1940 Allied Retreat from Dunkirk, which is considered one of the most indelible combat scenes in literature. This slams any comment on misperception, trepidation, and viciousness of war, with instinctual immediacy. This can also be considered as one of the most memorable sequences of brilliantly orchestrated novels that injects the author’s favorite themes; the problems of innocence, the sudden appearance of bad luck in one’s life, and the reduction of lives between life and art.
35. The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner (2013):
This is a fever-dream novel based in the 1970s, which could be turned into a spectacular movie if one had the right means and source. This novel takes into contains the speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats, street riots in Rome, escaping stories from the Alps, and conspiracy in the international world art.
The author has set her heroine, Reno, in the middle of everything. This book can be said to be a feminist action-adventure, with a love note to the last decade before neoliberalism took over the world.
36. Do Everything in the Dark by Gary Indiana (2003):
Did you know that the working title of this novel was ‘Psychotic Friends Network’?
This novel is composed in 74 sections, which follows a group of loosely bound friends, who are writers, actors, artists as even careless people who, once upon a time, had their lives sorted.
Downtown Manhattan is the center of gravity for these individuals, where they have been scattered, but are brought together because of the human debris they find themselves in. the failures, betrayals, and even AIDS is the center of it all.
This novel concludes on the weekend before 9/11 and shows that the American wreckage was not planned on a sunny weekday.
37. The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (2004):
The novel has a beginning of fear, which is constantly on the rise, and at a point, becomes unbearable.
It can become easy to forget that The Plot Against America was a parable for Trump’s America, and has been accepted as an allegory for the W’s. Walter Witchell, the protagonist in the novel, makes speeches that have an uncanny urgency to them and show images of a prophecy.
This novel is sure to get the reader’s mind to get boggled up, from every angle.
38. Veronica by Mary Gaitskill (2005):
Just as in her first novel, Two Girls, Fat and Thin (1991), Veronica also circles around two women and their friendship.
In this novel, Allison Owen, a former model, who has been living the rest of her life with hepatitis C, looks over her relationship with Veronica Ross, a woman who died alone with AIDS. This novel makes the readers ask certain questions such as: how do we care for people in pain? This question rests at the heart of this novel, which has been written with remarkable metaphors and has great lyrical power to it.
39. WolfHall by Hilary Mantel (2009):
There are many writers who could have done their research and written this book, but it is only Hilary Mantel, whose genius and gimlet-eye could create the animating effect and provide intelligence at the heart of this novel.
This novel is about the story of Thomas Cromwell, who is the adviser to Henry VIII, the antagonist to Thomas More. He is a brilliant, ambitious, heartbroken, and ruthless individual, who believes in the policy of an eye for an eye.
The author also says that the protagonist has an eye for risk, and the author has revealed this in order to take a narrative leap, which often pays off in front of the readers.
40. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi (2011):
Helen Oyeyemi is the only writer after Angela Carter, who has the ability to subvert a classic fairy tale and give it a transformative effect.
Known as the first brilliant work of romantic metafiction, Mr. Fox is a novel that tells the readers about the story of a few characters repeatedly, who are in perfect recapitulations, which make one know about love and violence and loneliness too. This is a clever step by the author, but it is not so clever that it can hide the author’s sentimental shrewd structure.
In this novel, Mr. Fox, has the character, brains, and heart, to win over every reader, whether he/she is a lover of fiction and how it works, and ones who have seen complete enjoyment.
41. Zone One by Colson Whitehead (2011):
Zone One is one of the exemplary hybrids, which acts as a paragon of what every mode offers to each other. This novel has been released in a century, where there is an erosion of the high-low divide that, once upon a time, separates ‘literature’ from the genre fiction.
The author, Colson Whitehead has depicted a post-apocalyptic experiment, which is a zombie novel, is also a 9/11meditation, and a cultural satire. This novel has the properties of delivering both the psychosomatic and touching pragmatism, along with nourishing bloodshed.
There have been different novels that are written by Colson Whitehead on American history, but there is no better novel, which depicts the horrors of the American present.
42. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012):
Already adapted into a blockbuster movie, eight years later, this book still gives the chills to its readers. This novel is known as the genre game-changer. This novel also plays fair with its reader, same as Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
The author is known for her sharp writing skills, which take the entire novel, up a notch, and are mainly focused on the stress of marriage under strain. Married people can maybe connect with the novel, which makes it a worthy read for every person.
43. White Girls by Hilton Als (2013):
It is the first book by Hilton Als, since The Women quite some time ago, and is The New Yorker’s boldest cultural critics bringing together his analysis of art, literature, music, along with bringing insights into gender, race, and history.
Als dubs brings forward the portraits of ‘white girls,’ who can be put into a category, which encompasses figures as different as Truman Capote and Louis Brooks, Malcolm X, and even Flannery O’Connor.
Among the theoretical and practical, high culture and low, the author has presented here, a stunning image of a writer, through his subjects, along with an invaluable guide to the culture of the present time.
44. Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald (2001):
As the New York Books of Review calls W. G. Sebald one of the most gripping writers imaginable, Austerlitz is an internationally acclaimed novel. This is the story of a man, named Jacques Austerlitz, who is searching for the answer to his life’s main riddle. He was only a child when he came to England on the Kindertransport and knows nothing of his real parents as he is never told about them by the Welsh Methodist Minister and his wife who raised him. As he grows into an adult, he starts getting flashes, which he barely understands. He follows these flashes back to the world, which he left behind half a century ago. In this place, he feels the void in the middle of twentieth-century Europe, where he struggles to rescue his heritage from oblivion.
This novel makes the reader intrigued by the protagonist, right from the beginning to the end, making it one of the best books to give a read.
45. Home by Marilynne Robinson (2008):
Home is a healing and moving book about families, their secrets, about love and death, their passing generations, and faith in each other. This book is in complete contrast to the author’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Gilead. In Gilead, hundreds of thousands we fascinated by the voice of John Ames; however, in Home, the house of Reverend Robert Boughton is presented, who is Ames’ closest friend and portrays the novel as a completely independent, deeply affecting one. Jack, the prodigal son of the family, who has been away from home for twenty years, returns home, along with Glory Boughton, his sister, to take care of their dying father.
This story is a memorable one and lets one get connected with the narrator and the characters.
46. The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin (2015-2017):
The author, N. K. Jemisin is known as the first black writer to win sci-fi’s precious Hugo Award for best novel. She has done it again with the Broken Earth Trilogy, by winning an award for each book and has become the first author to do so. This novel is regarding a warring mother and daughter who have the power to incite or quell a world-destroying earthquake. This novel is about institutional racism, climate change, and the horrible things powerful people will do in order to stay in power. If this sounds a little off the rail, then you must keep a strong heart while reading this book because you have never been close to this stillness and a place where people consume rocks for food. This is a story that is beautifully written with epic magical battles and earthquakes, which makes the book even more groundbreaking.
47. The Needle’s Eye by Fanny Howe (2016):
One of America’s best, deepest, most whimsical, and emotionally grounded writers, Fanny Howe is a poet, a novelist, and a memoirist. In this novel, she takes the energy of a song such as Nat King Cole’s Nature Boy and guides her readers into a meditation on the youth and their ability to wander and find themselves. On this basis, she puts the entire story of the two Boston bombers, two Kyrgyz-American, whose apprehensive behavior leads to the death of three people and seriously injured a dozen more people.
This novel is a masterpiece in itself and is a wide read for any reader.
48. The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas (2017):
This is Angie Thomas’s debut book and nothing is better than the importance of YA fiction as an art form, where this book is about a teenage girl’s entry into the Black Lives Matter movement. The title has been taken from Tupac Shakur’s acronym regarding the ills of the system racism, The Hate You Give or THUG covers the injustices done by the police against men and women of color with nuance, charm, and levity. There are no easy answers that THUG offers to the readers, neither does it portray any of the different casts in binary terms. It has been banned in certain parts of the US, which shows how much it has hit the nerves of various people.
49. Tell Me How it Ends by Valeria Luiselli (2017):
This book is detailed information about how we get stories in exchange for safety and belonging in American society. The author, as a volunteer interpreter for migrant children, describes the 6 and 7-year-olds, who are asked to perform as well as interpret their pain for the immigration system, that sees just a border. This is a border for Luiselli’s clients for whom the troubles have just begun. The author has provided an essential moral text for migration while juggling between her life as a semi-documented American and mother in the US, and the lives of children she is taking care of and helps, along with the questionnaire.
This novel is worth a read in today’s generation, with the issues for immigrants and the hard life that they have to live
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